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Lent 2 – Matthew 15:21-28

by pastorjuhl ~ February 24th, 2010

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

Do you remember? Do you remember your first kiss? Do you remember where you were when man landed on the moon? Do you remember your confirmation Bible verse? Do you remember that you have no strength by yourself to battle the devil?

Remember. Remember that God’s children love to forget that the heavenly Father loves them and has mercy on them. Remember that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Remember that you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Remember there is no room in the reign of heaven for those who praise God one minute and curse their neighbor the next.

The disciples do not remember that the Lord loves to trap Himself. When a Canaanite woman comes calling Jesus Son of David, they want Jesus to give her what she wants so she will be quiet. The woman annoys them with her persistent begging. She is a Canaanite, not one of the lost sheep of Israel. How dare she call Jesus Son of David and ask Him to cast out her daughter’s demons.

Jesus seems to take the Twelve’s advice. First, He remains silent to her request. Then He responds to the Twelve, not to the woman, I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Finally, the woman falls at our Lord’s feet crying out, Lord, help me! Then comes the deepest cut of all: It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs. Why would you give food needed for the sustenance of others to a creature who should get by with what is given to them? Yipping puppies do not need people food. Conversation over.

What should come next is the departure of Jesus and the Twelve. The Canaanite woman should be left behind so she can search for the answer to her problems among her own kind. She should find her god and let him cast the demons from her daughter. It’s not her fault she isn’t a Jew. It’s not our Lord’s fault that He shouldn’t help the woman. That’s the way it is when two cultures that don’t get along collide.

Perhaps you have been in the same position as the woman in Matthew chapter 15. You have serious rug burn on your knees because you’ve been down on them for so long. You offer up countless prayers to God only to get up off your knees believing He will no longer listen to your pleas for mercy. He has forgotten the sound of your voice. Sure, you’re persistent. However, persistence only goes so far. You forget to remember what Jesus says about persistent prayer in Luke chapter eleven. You quit asking. You quit seeking. You quit knocking. You forget that Jesus says if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

Consider the good gift God gave to Jacob after their all-night wrestling match. Jacob would not let go until the Lord blessed Him. The Lord remembered His promise given to Jacob’s father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. He remembered their faith was accounted to them as righteousness. The Lord said to Jacob your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed. The Lord had every right to wipe out Jacob during their wrestling match, especially because Jacob wouldn’t let go until he received a blessing. Instead of leaving him left for dead with a dislocated hip, the Lord gave Jacob what he asked.

God’s memory is perfect. His memory is so perfect that He knows what you ask for before you ask for it! He remembered Noah. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. He remembered Lot. The Lord sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. He remembered Rachel. He listened to her and opened her womb. The Psalms are full of remembrance language, especially in today’s Introit Psalm: Remember Your mercy, O Lord, and Your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of Your goodness, Lo Lord!

God remembers His children, both Jew and Gentile. He remembers that He promised to save them from sin and death. He remembers to send His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to rescue you. He remembers to hear your prayers through Jesus Christ and answer according to His good and gracious will, just as He heard the persistent prayers of the Canaanite woman. Her reply to what seems to be an insult from Christ’s lips is a reply born of faith and hope in a Savior that remembers her. Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.

Jesus speaks the truth in today’s Gospel. The bread belongs to the children. The crumbs that fall from the Master’s table are for you. Though to your eyes these crumbs might be insignificant, they are nourishing, life-giving crumbs. No one goes hungry eating crumbs from the Master’s Table, especially crumbs from the Bread of Life broken and distributed at this altar for the forgiveness of your sins. No one goes hungry eating crumbs that fall from this pulpit; the crumbs of the Bread of Life meant for your ears that help your remember that Christ died for your sins out of great love for you. God remembers no more the sins of those who eat His crumbs. God remembers your faith, whether it is weak or strong. He remembers that you are His precious child through water and the Word. His favor rests on you. This He always remembers.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

1 Response to Lent 2 – Matthew 15:21-28

  1. Charles James

    We Christians should then not panic in the face of adversity. God remembers us and will never abandon us in the manner in which we abandon Him. Whatever befalls us God remembers us. We are safe. Thanks for the sermon, the crumbs that fell from the table of the Lord.

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